Age at Marriage and Divorce: Causal Evidence from ChinaISER External Seminars

Many studies showed that marrying younger is associated with a higher risk of divorce. We investigate, for the first time, the causal effect of marrying at an earlier age on divorce risk for women. We exploit the introduction of a reform in China in 1982, which facilitated legal marriage for women younger than 25 years old, using the Chinese Census data. We show that the reform generated a kink in the mean age at marriage for women, which we use in a fuzzy regression kink design (RKD) to assess the causal effect of marrying younger on the probability of divorce. We first show the strong negative correlation between age at marriage and divorce commonly observed in the previous literature in our data and contribute to the debate about whether the association is U-shaped. Then, we show that this association disappears in our analyses based on RKD. This finding suggests unobservable factors explain both timing of marriage and the likelihood of divorce in this well-established association.

Presented by:

Dr. Berkay Özcan (LSE)

Date & time:

December 9, 2020 12:30 pm - December 9, 2020 1:30 pm


Link for online Zoom Meeting: For those who would like join from outside of University of Essex, please register by sending your names to

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